Pupils between the ages of 6 and 18 are at risk of developing waterborne diseases. PICTURE: BONGANI MBATHA
Pupils between the ages of 6 and 18 are at risk of developing waterborne diseases. PICTURE: BONGANI MBATHA

1 in 3 schools in SA does not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation

By Michelle Lorber Time of article published Apr 12, 2021

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One out of three schools in the country did not have access to healthy, clean drinking water and sanitation, said Kusini Water chief executive Murendeni Mafumo.

Kusini Water, a social enterprise company specialising in sustainable water solutions, aims to bring 5 million litres to 5 million people, have identified water impact sites throughout South Africa in schools and Educare centres in the Eastern and Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, North West, Free State and Limpopo, among others.

Murendeni said two out of five children without a basic drinking water service at school lived in sub-Saharan Africa in 2019 while over half of children without a basic sanitation service at school lived in two sustainable development goal (SDG) regions in 2019.

According to the company, most children affected by the poor access to health and sanitation at schools are children between the ages of 6 to 18.

“This age group is the most at risk of developing waterborne or unsafe sanitation-orientated diseases,” said Mafumo.

Water treatment systems supplied by Kusini involve nanotechnology and the use of macadamia nut shells to filter and provide clean, safe drinking water to people in rural and peri-urban settlements throughout Africa.

In partnership with DuPont Water Solutions, which sponsored the project, the two contributed a water treatment plant to Reneilwe Primary School and the Temba community.

The water sources in the area are affected by contaminants. In response, an ultra-filtration membrane and UV light system are used to remove impurities from groundwater pumped out of the borehole. Four thousand litres of viable drinking water an hour can now be supplied at the site. The system is solar-power driven. The local community can acquire water at the pure water kiosk, which generates revenue for the school.

The US embassy was also involved in the project with Kusini Water and assisted with the training of “water champions” from the community who have skills to operate and maintain the plant.

Eco-V's GreenTower technology provides the solar energy via GreenTower-manufactured microgrids. The company aims to provide urban high schools with energy, water and health security solutions in the near future. GreenTower technology, besides treating borehole water, also recycles grey water for toilet and garden use. It integrates solar energy, water treatment, disinfection and water purification.

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